Medical receptionist interview questions with sample answers

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 22 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Being a medical receptionist is a role that isn't just administrative. It also requires knowledge of technical healthcare terms, billing and insurance. It's important that medical receptionists prepare to receive general questions about their work history plus questions specific to the medical industry and customer service. In this article, we outline common medical receptionist interview questions and share some tips on how to answer them.

General medical receptionist interview questions

You can expect a hiring manager to start with general medical receptionist interview questions that give them an understanding of who you are, what your personality is and whether you're suitable for a patient-facing position. Some of these questions you may have answered on your job application, but hiring managers often prefer candidates to share their answers verbally. This helps them to gauge your enthusiasm for the role and build a rapport with you. Examples of general interview questions include:

Tell me about yourself

Briefly discuss your work history and experience. You could mention your qualifications if relevant and list some of your key skills or qualities, such as being friendly and hard-working. Keep details about your personal life fairly brief, such as whether you have children and what your interests are.

Related: Interview question: “Tell me about yourself”

Why are you interested in this position?

Clarify that you're enthusiastic about this medical receptionist role compared to other positions you've seen. Perhaps there's something about the practice that appeals to you or there are key duties in the job description that are interesting or well-suited to you. Offer that you understand the unique nature of the job description and workplace.

Related: What does a medical receptionist do?

What is your biggest weakness and how are you working on improving on it?

Try to avoid mentioning weaknesses that are integral to the role of a medical receptionist, such as using a computer. When describing how you're improving on a weakness, be specific in the tactics you're using and the progress you've made. Give examples of challenges you have met that have forced you to work on your weak skills.

Related: List of Weaknesses: 10 Things To Say in an Interview

What is your biggest strength and how does it assist you in your work?

Choose a skill that's vital for success as a medical receptionist, such as:

  • organisation

  • communication

  • time management

  • multi-tasking

  • prioritisation

  • conflict resolution

Try to give a specific example of a situation in which the strength comes in useful. For example, if your strength is conflict resolution, you might mention your ability to ease tensions when a patient is upset about a delay in their appointment.

Related: Interview Question: 'What Is Your Greatest Strength?'

What five words would you use to describe yourself?

It's helpful to have reasons you've chosen each of the five words if the interviewer probes for examples. Ensure the words you choose are applicable to the job, such as friendly, dedicated, sociable, focused and reliable. Choose positive words that reflect your personality accurately.

What are your hobbies and interests?

Your hobbies can reveal your ability to be self-motivated, passionate and enthusiastic. They can also give insights into your skills and qualities. For example, if you volunteer for a charity, this demonstrates that you're caring and willing to help others.

Related: How to answer ‘What do you do for fun?’ during an interview

What does career success mean to you?

Explain what makes you feel fulfilled in your work. For example, the knowledge you're helping patients or the satisfaction that comes from completing daily tasks correctly. Link it back to why you think this job can help to make you feel successful in your career.

Where do you expect to be five years from now?

Most medical receptionist roles don't offer a great deal of progression. Make it clear that you're looking for a long-term position and value stability. For example, you might say that you expect to feel experienced and confident in a role that you enjoy.

Related: Interview Question: 'Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?'

Why would you like to work with people?

Receptionists deal with people every day, so it's important that you genuinely enjoy this aspect of the job. You might enjoy helping people or feel that you're good at dealing with sensitive situations. You could simply be a sociable character who takes pleasure from interacting with others.

Specific medical receptionist questions about your background and work experience

After getting to know you, the hiring manager is looking to develop their understanding of your relevant work experience and qualifications to ensure you're capable of performing the role. Questions may focus on your knowledge of medical reception work, interactions with patients and ability to work in a high-pressure, public-facing position. Here are some examples of medical receptionist-specific questions:

Have you worked as a medical receptionist before?

Briefly describe your professional experience. Mention similar roles or transferrable skills if you've never worked as a medical receptionist before. Reference any relevant qualifications that make you a good candidate.

What appeals to you most about working as a medical receptionist?

Describe how the work suits your skill set. Explain how you can imagine yourself handling the duties of the job with ease and enthusiasm. If you've worked as a medical receptionist before, describe the aspects of the role you enjoyed most.

What computer skills do you have?

List the software you have used in your current or previous job roles. Describe the processes performed with the software in case the hiring manager isn't familiar with it. This allows you to demonstrate relevant experience even if you're not familiar with the software used at the hiring practice.

Related: Receptionist skills: definition and examples

Do you have experience in scheduling appointments?

If you don't have experience scheduling patient or customer appointments, consider any relevant work experience you have. For example, a previous job could have taught you how to schedule your own time or develop your time management skills. Consider any hobbies or interests in your personal life which have developed your scheduling skills.

How would you describe your communication style?

Communication skills are essential in receptionist jobs. Medical receptionists are calm, concise, approachable and good listeners. Describe your communication style by comparing your style to the needs of the role.

Related: 7 ways to communicate effectively at work

Are you experienced in handling confidential data?

Understanding patient confidentiality is vital as a medical receptionist. If you don't have experience in this area, mention experience in handling sensitive information or conversations in past roles. Express that you're aware of just how important it is to maintain confidentiality.

Related: How to describe experience in handling confidential information

What challenges do you expect to face as a medical receptionist?

Describe the parts of the job that seem most difficult. Make it clear why you think your skills make you capable of facing challenges. For example, since you're a good communicator, you can respond appropriately when patients express frustration at long wait times for appointments.

In-depth and situation-specific medical receptionist questions

It's common for hiring managers to ask more in-depth questions to better understand your skill set, communication style and ability to solve problems. You can expect to receive questions about very specific situations, activities or tasks that might come about during a typical workday as a medical receptionist. Here are some examples of such in-depth questions:

How well do you pick things up when learning how to use new software?

Describe your preferred learning style. For example, you might be someone who learns by doing or who likes to shadow others. Make it clear that you're willing and committed to learning, even if you're not the quickest at picking up new computer skills.

Would you be available to work overtime when required?

Most reception jobs involve set shift patterns, but it's expected that receptionists pick up additional shifts to cover sick leave and holidays. It's helpful to outline the exact days of the week or times that you could or could not accept overtime. Demonstrate that you can be flexible.

Related: A complete guide to working overtime (with overtime tips)

Have you had a difficult interaction with a patient and how did you resolve it?

Briefly explain what happened and how you took care of the situation. Focus on your ability to stay calm in high-tension situations. Make it clear that you can solve problems and build rapport with patients.

What keeps you motivated when doing a job that involves lots of routine and repetition?

You could explain that you've had similar routine jobs in the past and enjoyed them. Alternatively, perhaps you don't deem the job routine since every patient and interaction is different. Some people get satisfaction from routine tasks that they can achieve efficiently.

Related: How To Be Self-Motivated (With Examples)

Have you ever disagreed with a colleague and how did you cope with it?

Teamwork is important in medical receptionist jobs. Consider a specific situation in which you faced conflict, quickly resolved it and did not allow it to impact your job negatively. Avoid speaking negatively about the colleague in question and focus on the facts of what happened.

How would you deal with an angry patient?

Patients experience frustration when delays occur or they notice obvious mistakes or laziness with their care. Describe how you would communicate with an angry patient to resolve conflict and find a solution while being assertive in not tolerating abusive behaviour. Mention relevant past experiences if applicable.

Related: What are conflict resolution skills? Definition and examples

Have you ever made a mistake in scheduling patient appointments and how did you resolve it?

Mistakes often happen in reception roles where complex scheduling takes place daily. Accepting responsibility and resolving the problem swiftly is what's important. Clarify that you can be accountable for your mistakes and can solve problems quickly and under pressure.

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